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Following the Interview

Post-Interview Reflection, Thank You Notes, and Follow Up

Post-Interview Reflection

Take some time directly following your interview for thought and reflection.

  • What questions or situations in the interview may NOT have gone so well? Writing these things down will make it easier to remember what you need to practice for next time.
  • What DID go well? Identify what went well and think about why that was.  How did the positive parts of the interview exhibit a potential strength?  This information can be useful when you promote yourself in future interviews or professional situations.
  • Do you have the names of everyone with whom you interviewed? Write down any individual anecdotes that may have come out of your conversations.  (e.g. Perhaps you come from the same home town; the interviewer went to the same college as you; you have an interest in the same sports team; or the interviewer gave you helpful advice.)  All of these “points of connection” can be included in follow-up communication.  People will note and appreciate your remembering specific details, and your ability to do so will likely make you more memorable.
  • Reflect upon what elements of the job or organization were appealing to you and what were not. It’s good to record these points directly after your interview so that you have a good perspective on the opportunity.  This reflection is particularly helpful if you are contemplating multiple opportunities.
  • Write down any additional questions that you may have so you can follow up as needed.

Appreciation and Thank You Notes

It is important to send a note to EACH interviewer to express your appreciation and gratitude for the time spent in the interview.  Thank you notes should be sent as soon as possible but within 48 hours after the interview. Although notes can be in the form of an email or typed, a handwritten thank you note is still the format that can make the most impact – especially for your top opportunities.  The format of your thank you note may also be determined by how quickly the employer is making a decision. (i.e. You may not have time to send a hand-written note.)  Thanking interviewers by email is also appropriate for opportunities at a great distance (i.e. overseas).

Thank you notes are important in the following ways:

  • Demonstrate your professionalism and courtesy
  • Express your appreciation for the employers interest in you and the time spent interviewing.
  • Reinforce your enthusiasm for the position and the organization.
  • Briefly remind the organization about a key qualification, skill, or experience.
  • Include any information the organization may have asked of you. (e.g. an expense report, proposed start date, etc.)

Additional Tips:

  • Include any personal anecdotes you may have had with each interviewer. All of these “points of connection” can enhance your memorability.
  • Ensure you are using proper greetings, salutations, and paragraph structure.
  • Proofread your thank you note multiple times, and have a second person review it as well. Much like a resume and cover letter, these notes should be well-written and without grammar or spelling errors.

What to do if you haven’t heard from an employer

Organizations usually will provide you with a hiring time line and/or an understanding of “next steps” for the position.  If the organization did not provide this information, it is appropriate and recommended that you ask the following questions:

  • What is your hiring timeline?  Who will contact me about the decision, and what are the next steps?

If more than a week has passed beyond the date when you were told you would hear something from the employer (and barring some major event in the news like a merger or acquisition or other event that would capture the employer’s attention, call or e-mail and politely inquire about the status of your application. Someone (or something) or an unexpected circumstance may be holding up the process. A polite inquiry shows that you are still interested in the organization and may prompt the employer to get on schedule with a response. In your inquiry, mention the following: name of the person who interviewed you, time and place of the interview, position for which you are applying (if known), and then ask about the status of your application.